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115 of 145 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of errors., 2 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Battle for Scotland (Kindle Edition)
Andrew, I like you on the telly, and I'm glad to see you are recovering.

I just bought your book on Scotland (the kindle version). I've got through the first chapter and sorry to say but you've got a few howlers in there (hope they're not in the print edition or you'll be pulping them I think).

The factual ones first:

Are Scots Different:

"..between 1979, when around 2.3 million Scots (51 % of the total voting) said yes to a Scottish parliament and 1997... when around 2.77 million Scots (around 73 % voted for a new parliament..."

Incorrect. The 2.3 m and the 2.77m were the total turnout numbers, NOT the numbers voting yes.

".. waving the sole tyre...." Took me a while to realise it's supposed to read Saltire... bit embarrassing eh ?

Scotland Today

"Scotland has a larger proportion of her economy in the public sector... "

Actually Scottish public expenditure as a % of GDP is 42.7%, for the UK its 45.5% (GERS 2011-12). But why let the facts get in the way of a good stereotype?

"Labour only really rose to dominance in the 1960's when the Conservative unionists took the brunt of Scottish hostility to Margaret Thatcher"

Rewriting history. No-one outside of Grantham had heard of Mrs T in the 1960's.

And now one which I think displays a (perhaps subconscious) trace of bias:

So What's this really all about:

"His (Alex Salmond's) government said that if Scotland's geographical share of oil and gas was included Scottish GDP per head would be 118% of the UK average"

AS says it because it's a fact (GERS 2011-12). Why do you need to preface it by saying `his government says" as if it's only an opinion?

And then you goes on to say :

"...with 8.4% of the UK population, Scotland takes 9.3% of public spending.."

This is of course true, but it's also true that Scotland generates 9.9% of UK taxes which you fail to mention.

And you present this fact as a fact. In the interests of `balance' maybe you should have said something like

" ... Alistair Darling's No campaign says that with 8.4% of the UK population Scotland takes 9.3% of public spending... "

but of course that would be ridiculous wouldn't it ?

But I can put your mind at rest on one key point, you won't have to choose between a Scottish and a rUK passport.

Scotland will adopt a model similar to the Irish one with regards to citizenship (i.e. those born in Scotland or the children of those born in Scotland will be able to enjoy Scottish citizenship). Dual citizenship will also be no problem for the Scottish Government, and it would be surprising if the rUK government decided Scotland was the only country in the world that it wouldn't allow dual citizenship with. (Current UK law is that: "A British citizen who acquires citizenship of another country is not required under UK law to renounce British nationality".)

So you will be able to have 2 passports if you so choose (in the same way that many people currently carry both Irish and British passports).

I can't decide whether to struggle on with this read, as I don't have the time to highlight any more errors I may find.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Aug 2013 12:23:20 BDT
Some of these mistakes about are inexcusable (thanks for going to the effort of pointing them out and shaming the editor) - however the reason that `his government says' is used as highlighted is because it is an economic projection (not an indisputable set of figures from the ONS as the public spending figures are) - economic projections must be treated with, at the very least, a healthy skepticism (if not disregarded altogether).

As far as I understand it - there are equally legitimate 'projections' that tell a completely different story.

I see no bias on this particular example.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2013 16:51:39 BDT
ivan mckee says:

Thanks for the comment.

To be clear the quote about Scottish GDP being 118% of the UK average actually refers to the 2011-12 published data, not any future projections.
It comes from the same data set as the data on Scottish spending (9.3% of the UK total -which AM mentions) and Scottish revenue (9.9% of the UK total - which he fails to mention).

The data set is GERS 2011-12, see the link below, which is the latest set of data on the Scottish economy, and is not disputed by the UK Government or the ONS (who contribute to the GERS data)

(If you want to have a look the revenue data is in table E1, the spend data is in table E2 and the GDP data is in Box 2.2)

The key point I think is that this shows up how the debate has been allowed to be framed by the No side. Any facts which show the strength of the Scottish economy are ridiculed and presented as some kind of Salmond fantasy even though they are undisputed fact.

The 'too wee, too poor, too stupid' mantra is so deeply engrained in the Scottish psyche that we refuse to believe any facts that show us how strong our economy is - we put them into the 'cognitive dissonance' box and assume that anyone who is telling the truth must be a liar.

If all we do over the next 12 months is widely disseminate the facts about the strength of the Scottish economy then a Yes vote next year will be in no doubt.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Aug 2013 22:51:28 BDT
Terry says:
Well said ,correct and factual.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Sep 2013 19:06:29 BDT
This is a most fascinating and useful review. The campaign of fear being generated by the NO campaign needs to be countered by facts - then people can, should they choose, make an informed choice.

Posted on 15 Jan 2014 23:07:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Jan 2014 23:09:17 GMT
That sounds quite concerning. I don't know if possible time constraints excuse anything, or if there was even a deliberate bias. I'm only speculating, but it sounds as if he had an apriori view that the 'No' campaign, and them only, were presenting the truth. Concerning. -But ''sole tyre'' suggests some special incompetence, or else, a form of cunning so special it escapes my comprehension; but maybe one shouldn't read too much into it, just a typo.

But this book got a good review from Amazon user Ronald McCaffer, who points out that most of it was written in 1992. Have you got an update on the main part of the book?

(And is it possible that the statistics were from 1992 and not updated? Sounds unlikely, it would be a bizarre thing for the author and publishers to do.)

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jun 2014 09:26:16 BDT
nick says:
Data published by the Scottish government with no reference on this spreadsheet to where these numbers are taken from. Please refrain from discussing these numbers as "gospel" without providing the source of this data - that is very misleading.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2014 08:50:39 BDT
So if the Scottish economy is so strong within the Union, why put that at risk by breaking up the Union?

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2014 08:59:46 BDT
ivan mckee says:
Because Scotland lags behind other comparable sized independent European countries, most of whom have far less natural resources than us and have done better than us (as a result of being able to set policies that can grow and develop their economies to suit their particular needs).

Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden for example. Not to mention of course Norway.

While Scotland is financially in a better shape than rUK we are lagging behind where we should be.

The Union is holding Scotland back. Time to take responsibility for our own economy.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Aug 2014 19:25:54 BDT
There are risks and advantages of being small, but I think even that debate is possibly a distraction from the issue. I think the question should be, for richer or poorer (the experts disagree) do you want to be a self-governing country (or as close as you can get without your own currency, army etc.)? Do you feel, like in the above comment from Ivan McKee, it is "time to take responsibility for our own economy"? I would put it this way: 1) Do you feel the Scottish voter is a better breed, or at least a different breed, from the UK voter, and 2) do you think the Scottish political class are a better breed, or at least a different breed from the UK political class? (and 3, do you think the advantages of being a small country outweigh the risks?) For example; with the possibility of an in/out referendum on EU membership, do Scottish voters want to have their say apart from British voters?

I don't believe there is an anti Scotland conspiracy in Westminster; like I say, there are just advantages to being small - as well as risks. But as for "are Scottish politicians better?" I was dismayed by Alex Salmond's shenanegans wooing Donald Trump. He really thought Trump would be a reliable ally, wanting the best for Scotland? Also, did Salmond really only want further devolution short of independance, did he get outmanouvered by Westminster?

Posted on 31 Aug 2014 22:35:28 BDT
Muhammad R. says:
Ivan, nice pointing out the twisted facts though.

What book would you suggest to me?
Scottish Independence: Yes or No (The Great Debate)
Arguing for Independence: Evidence, Risks and the Wicked Issues (Viewpoints)
In Place of Fear II: A Socialist Programme for an Independent Scotland
Scottish History: From Bannockburn to Holyrood (Collins Little Books)

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